Arieanna Day, a 3-month-old child who disappeared from her Roanoke home on Tuesday, is likely dead, police say.
“We are continuing our investigation with this in mind, and hope that we can bring closure to this case and family,” Roanoke police spokeswoman Caitlyn Cline said.
A Roanoke man was arrested in Montgomery County on Wednesday night and charged with illegal disposal of a body, according to the sheriff’s office there.
Capt. Brian Wright confirmed the arrest is connected to Day’s disappearance.
Andrew Christopher Terry, 31, is being held in the Montgomery County jail with no bond, the sheriff’s office said.
Little information about the arrest was given, but a news release from the sheriff’s office said Roanoke detectives contacted the sheriff’s office for assistance.
Roanoke police have not said if Terry is a suspect in the disappearance of Day. The connection between Terry and the missing child remains unclear.
“We are not releasing how Terry is connected to Day at this time,” Cline said.
Cline said Terry did not live at the Roanoke address where the child was living.
Roanoke police said Wednesday they responded to a report of an abduction about 11 p.m. Tuesday at a home in the 1100 block of Hanover Avenue.
The child’s mother told them she’d put the girl to bed around 10 p.m., but the child was gone when she returned an hour later, Roanoke Chief Tim Jones said Wednesday. The home was unlocked, and there was no sign of a break-in.
A man who identified himself as the child’s father arrived and told officers he did not have the girl, Jones said. The child’s family was cooperating with police.
Patricia Drew, a neighbor, said the mother had lived there for two or three years.
“She was good to them kids,” said Drew, who said she couldn’t be certain of the number of children at the home. On the porch sat toy CAT trucks.
“This is so weird to me” Drew said on Thursday. “It’s sad.”
The Montgomery County sheriff’s office said Terry was arrested at 9:16 p.m. on Wednesday.
The sheriff’s office news release came in response to questions about an incident Wednesday night on Jennelle Road east of Blacksburg near a railroad crossing. Officers were there from before 8 p.m. until at least 10 p.m.
On Thursday morning, a Norfolk Southern truck and other vehicles remained at the Jennelle Road rail crossing. A law enforcement officer stood nearby, and men in vests with a dog on a leash searched farther up the tracks.
Police vehicles turned from driveways or cruised along nearby roads.
A short distance downhill, closer to the North Fork of the Roanoke River, search and rescue teams from Blacksburg and other agencies or localities were gathered at North Fork Baptist Church.
Dozens of vehicles, including search boats on trailers, were parked at the church and uniformed officers and emergency personnel worked at long tables under the church’s picnic shelter.
A bit farther along the river, on North Fork Road, a Virginia State Police search and rescue truck was parked and an officer with gloves on searched through thickets.
In Roanoke on Thursday afternoon, police scoured an area near the Hanover Avenue residence.
A troop of officers marched across Salem Turnpike Northwest to Horton Park, where several police cars were parked.
Cline said the police presence was related to the investigation but she could not reveal any more details.